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Re: [TalkAntietam] Digest Number 79 Action at Shepherstown

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  • James Mattes
    The battle of Boteler¡¯s Ford or Shepherdstown Per Dyer¡¯s Compendium of the War of the Rebelion the Order of battle for the Union Forces is as follows:
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 11, 2001
      The battle of Boteler��s Ford or Shepherdstown

      Per Dyer��s Compendium of the War of the Rebelion the
      Order of battle for the Union Forces is as follows:
      Killed 71, wounded 161, Captured or Missing 131,
      aggregate 363.
      2nd Inf regt District of Columbia
      3rd Indiana Cav Regt
      8th Illinois Cav Regt
      2nd and 20th Maine Inf Regts
      1st Mass Cav Regt
      B battery 3rd Mass Cav
      2nd Co Mass Sharpshooters
      9th 18th, 22nd Mass Inf Regt
      Battery C 1st RI Artillery Regt
      1st 4th and 16th Mich Inf Regt
      1st 12th 13th 14th 17th 25th 44th NY Inf Regts
      3rd 4th 6th 8th 62nd 83rd and 116th Pa Inf Regts
      E battery 1st US artillery Regt
      A,B,L,M,K Batteries 2nd US Artillery Regt
      5th and 6th US Cav Regts
      C & G Batteries 3rd US Artillery Regt
      G Battery 4th US Artillery Regt
      1st US Sharpshooters
      1st 2nd 3rd 4th 6th 10th 11th 12th 14th and 17th US
      Infantry Regts

      The ford first played a factor prior to the battle of
      Antietam with the Potomac at Lee��s back there was
      only one crossing point, Boteler��s Ford, near the
      village of Shepherdstown, where Jackson was expected
      to arrive.

      At 2 PM on the 17th A.P. Hill��s Div arrrived at the
      ford and crossed after a six and �� hour forced march.
      By 2:30 PM the Lee had the assurance that his division
      was at hand and could be used to stop Burnside.

      On the night of the 18th Confederate sentinels stood
      with torches to light the crossing into Virginia.
      Crossing back into the Confederacy the 18th
      Mississippi band struck up with ��Carry Me Back to Old
      Virginny.�� During the early morning Gen Walker��s
      rear guard reported that everything had crossed except
      a battery of artillery and some wagons with wounded.
      Union Cavalry arrived around 8AM to see the on the
      south bank 44 pieces of artillery supported by two
      brigades of infantry. The 18 guns of the Union
      Cavalry were brought up and for two hours the forces
      engaged in a artillery dual. Around 10 AM the lead
      elements of the V Corps (Gen Porter) arrived and he
      deployed the 1 USSS in the dry canal of the C&O
      parallel to the north bank of the river. As the
      sharpshooters were picking off the artillery men.
      Pendleton was in command of the rear guard this was
      his first Infantry command. With less than 600 men in
      two brigades He was ordering men forward that he did
      not have. As dusk fell and the Confederates began to
      fall back a Federal group of 500 men crossed the ford
      and captured a battery of guns (four). Pendleton
      reported during the night to Lee that he feared he had
      lost all of his 44 guns in the withdraw. Jackson none
      too happy with the performance of Pendleton took
      matters into his own hands and ordered AP Hill to be
      ready to march to the river at dawn. During the night
      McClellan dispatched three brigades to the south bank
      of the river. Sykes lead brigade crossed the river at
      7 AM on the 19th. A mile south of the ford these
      forces meet the lead elements of Hills division. Sykes
      pulled back to the bluffs by the river and then on
      order from Porter withdrew across the river along with
      another that had crossed after his. Barnes Brigade in
      the mean while had crossed and turned north. He sent
      the 118th Pa up a ravine to the top of an 80 foot
      cliff . While the regiment was forming a line along
      the top of the cliff the Division of AP Hill appeared
      to the south about one mile away. Advancing on a
      front of three brigades the forces would flank the
      regt easily. While Barnes was leading the other
      elements of his regiment across the river one
      lieutenant from the Bde informed the commander of the
      118th Pa (Col Prevost) of the withdraw. Col Prevost
      refused to withdraw without orders from the Bde
      commander. As the Confederate forces advanced the
      Union guns across the river opened up and began to
      slow the advance. Here the 118th returned fire but
      many of their enfields would not shoot (this regiment
      was green and this was it��s first combat) due to the
      mainsprings being too light on the fall to explode the
      percussion cap. The union right flank attempted to
      counter attack the Confederate elements flanking them.
      When the center of the regiment saw this they took it
      for a withdrawal and started to retire. Col Prevost
      attempted to rally the troops and was hit by a
      confederate bullet. LTC Gwyn assumed command and the
      regiment was able to hold for 30 mins or so. When the
      order to withdraw the troops lost there discipline and
      a wild rush to the river ensued. As the regiment
      attempted to withdraw via the ravine they were cut
      down by the confederates firing down on them from both
      sides. When the remainder of the regiment reached the
      foot of the cliff near the river their retreat was
      blocked by confederate marksman in the old mill. Those
      that could attempted to swim the river and were cut
      down mid stream. Around 2 PM those that could make it
      across had made the Maryland shore. The Union
      Sharpshooters forced the Confederates to withdraw to
      safety. The 118th loss 269 men of the 750 on the

      Hope this is what you were looking for.
      James Mattes

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